The “Lighthouse Keepers” Dress

This was the dress I made for the Sew Weekly’s literary challenge.  “The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch”, by Ronda Armitage is my very tenuous inspiration for this challenge.  It’s a cute story – about a guy whose wife makes him an amazing lunch every day while he’s at work in a lighthouse.  It’s very English and there are many titles in the series.  My boys enjoyed this story sent to them by their Nana.

My real inspiration was Mena’s Dark Nauticals Skirt.  My mouth dropped open when I saw her skirt.  It dropped open again when I found this fabric for sale on eBay a few months later.  I was thrilled that the seller accepted my offer so I got it for about $40 + postage.

Hands like Mena!

I have to say, I love this print.  I love a black background, and the New England? fishing village is not somewhere I’ve been – but I would like to go.   The fabric is lovely quality and was so beautiful to sew with.

I spent quite a long time, working out pattern placement to best effect.  The actual dress is very simple.  I really wanted a square neckline and I wanted the skirt to have pleats – like a vintage 50’s dress I bought recently.  I have put the side zip in upside down – a la Stephanie.  So easy to do up that way!  I have an aversion to dresses that are cut too high up under the arm – so I dropped it way down.  Too low – as my bra is showing – darn it.

The terrible hem

The other issue was that I machine sewed the hem up which looked terrible because it became warped.  So I have unpicked it and hand sewed it using Gertie’s method – pins and basting – this method is slow but good!

I went to town buying accessories to go with this dress – thanks Etsy! The Bakelite? Ship Steering Wheel belt buckle, the nautical charm bracelet, two brooches: a sea gull and a yacht. And let’s not forget the hat.

I wore it to my favorite event The Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, in Sydney.  If you are interested I suggest you Google it.  The day features markets and musical performances, fashion parades – it’s a great day out.

More Lighthousey fabric – in brown and orange -skirt for $195 – not impressed!

It wasn’t until I got home and went through my photos that I saw that my comfey flat shoes didn’t look great, and my petticoat has slipped down.  And I should have gone with the seamed stockings I had bought.  And the effect of the cardi (for the slightly chilly morning) was really too much with the hat, (which has a wonderful shape – but the details are really not complimentary at all), add that to the big 50’s plastic shopping basket and the lucite topped handbag I bought on the day my overall look is more crazy bag lady than 50’s style queen!!

It all screams trying too hard I feel.  Anyway, the good news is that I thought I looked fabulous – my shoes were comfortable and I had a brilliant time!  So no regrets!

Thanks to my dear friend Toni for saving the day with the hair do (after my attempt failed!) and for her photos!

The Facts
Fabric:  Vintage Cotton – $60 from eBay
Pattern:  A neckline from here, an idea from there – let’s call it self-drafted

Year:  1950’s inspired
Notions: Zip, interfacing
Time to complete: 10-12 hours – but I enjoyed every minute
First worn: August 2012 to The Fifties Fair
Wear again: Bring on that warm weather, put new elastic in the petticoat
Total Cost: $65

Here is is, hiding at the bottom, fresh to you from Instagram:  The full effect of the Bag Lady.  Shame it was the moment I got to meet the very sweet Michelle from Ravishing Retro – a Sydney Vintage Blogger.  Doesn’t she look faultless.  Actually she was the poster girl for the whole event – Wow!  Do go and take a look at her blog.


12 thoughts on “The “Lighthouse Keepers” Dress

  1. The dress is truly fantastic! I love the placement of the fabric, especially the lighthouse and birds on the straps – such a fabulous way of making these designs take center stage. I love the length too – it shows off the excellent border print so well! A lovely ensemble – you look marvelous 🙂

  2. The outfit looks fabulous! Including the hat and bags, you carried it off with aplomb. Those who think you look like a mad bag lady clearly have no appreciation of individual style.

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